By Bob Balgemann, REPORTER

 Outdoor storage at a supplier for Chrysler, another video gaming parlor, and an animated sign were among the issues dealt with during the most recent meeting of the City’s Planning and Zoning Commission. Each received a recommendation for approval and was presented to City Council on first reading, without comment, during its Oct. 17 meeting. Second and final reading, when a vote will be taken, is due Nov. 7. A 221,844-square-foot building is being constructed at 675 Corporate Parkway in Belvidere for a company that will manufacture bumpers for Jeep Cherokees being assembled at the nearby Chrysler Plant. As part of that project, Magna Industries would like 15,000 square feet set aside for outdoor storage of empty containers. That requires a special use permit, which the commission endorsed in a 6-0 vote on Oct. 11. The only concern, expressed by Commissioner Paul Engleman, was the height of the storage piles. City Planner Gina DelRose said there was no height restriction. She said the Planning and Zoning Commission could establish that as a condition of approval. She added that required landscaping of the property would provide trees to screen the storage area. Commission Chairman Andy Racz thought safety concerns would dictate the height of the stored items. Magna Industries wants the building to be finished by May 2017, said Jeff Linkenheld of Art Design Resources.

In a related matter, applicant Becknell Services LLC received a recommendation for approval of Phase III of the Sager Industrial Park Subdivision, which includes one 22.611-acre lot and improvements to Tripp Road. Among the attached conditions was the developer being responsible for Tripp Road improvements, adjacent to the subdivision, as well as dedicating a 33-foot right-of-way along the road. The City Planning Department must approve the revised plat before any signatures are obtained. In addition, the Commission recommended approval of a Special Use Permit to allow a video gaming cafe at 2022 N. State St. in Belvidere. It would be located in part of a strip mall that has 17 tenant spaces. Hours for the business and its five gaming terminals would be 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday through Saturday. Prepackaged snacks would be the only food available. Consumption of alcohol would be prohibited outside the building unless a special use permit was obtained for outdoor commercial entertainment. Another Special Use Permit, this one for an animated sign at a Mobil gas station, located at 1741 Pearl St. in Belvidere, also was recommended for approval. The business is situated in a commercial development anchored by the Pacemaker Countryside Market. The station and original signage were constructed in 1992. Planner DelRose said two large trees would obstruct the sign from a nearby single-family home. Various restrictions for the animation were included in conditions attached to the vote for approval. It was pointed out that companies receiving approval by Nov. 1 for new signs, being promoted by Exxon Mobil, will receive “substantial financial assistance” in paying for the improvement. After the 6-0 vote to recommend approval, Planner DelRose said there currently were no cases for the November Commission Meeting. However, she added that there may be two more requests for video gaming establishments, one at the new Speedway truck stop and one along North State Street, the latter with a wine bar. The City’s 2016-17 Budget estimates $180,000 in revenue from the current 15 gaming parlors.


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